The message that day from the administration, however, was far from congratulatory.
“Please understand that if Shea and Wong convert university funds to personal funds,” stated the email from a university lawyer to a lawyer representing the university’s faculty union, “they will be subject to personnel action and possibly other more serious consequences.”
The battle for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contest was over. But the team had another fight, this one with its own university. Who gets to keep the prize money?
“We put our blood and sweat into this — working 14- or 16-hour days sometimes,” says David Greene, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering who works on artificial intelligence and communications for radio designs and is a member of the research team, GatorWings. “The university is basically setting a precedent that any cash prizes in any competition, whether they’re to students or faculty, will be owned by the university.”